Campaign Review: Battle of BNPLs in Afterpay vs Gimmie
Campaign: Daniel Ricciardo Shifts Gear
The verdict: Not the best use of Daniel Ricciardo
Gavin Chimes, executive creative director at Howatson + Company, says:
Afterpay is arguably the biggest youth brand in the world, associated with the most beloved fashion brands. They’ve changed the shape of shopping for an entire generation. Put simply, they’re a modern day icon. I believe they have a huge opportunity to start acting like one in their advertising – explaining less, making people feel more. This campaign, however, feels like they’re still in start-up mode. While it’s light-hearted and uses a much-loved celebrity, it feels small for the Afterpay brand. Especially considering how powerful that brand can be.
James Reeves, senior strategist at The Works, says:
Afterpay have copped a lot of criticism after recently announcing their plans to enter pubs and dining venues. I’ll be honest, maybe I was the wrong person to review this as I’m pretty cynical of ‘buy now pay later’ services. But the ability to buy a pint now and pay for it later seems like it could get a lot of people in trouble and doesn’t have their best interests at heart. I don’t think this ad does anything to mitigate the negative attention, it simply races past it.
To me, the campaign feels like it’s fallen prey to the age-old trap of securing a well-known and influential celebrity who basically ends up becoming the idea. I don’t really feel like there’s much of an idea around ‘shifting gears’ away from Daniel Ricciardo easily being persuaded to buy something he wasn’t planning on buying. It’s all a bit flat and confusing to me. As a consumer what’s the key message I’m taking out here? Buy some more stuff that you can’t quite afford, and you didn’t even want in the first place? Or is it simply that Daniel uses Afterpay? Not sure I’m on board with either.
I can understand the move and there’s certainty a place for the awareness, credibility and recall that comes with an ambassador like this, but when Daniel is already in bed with so many Aussie brands and Afterpay needing to stake out their positioning as they grow. It certainty cements Afterpay as a big reputable brand and further gains them status of a household name with strong branding throughout each execution and further carving out a distinct look and feel for the brand. So despite thinking it’s the wrong execution I would see this delivering on brand awareness and brand name recall objectives paired with what looks like a strong AV media plan.
I empathise for creative teams when this happens, as there often is very little wiggle room to create around an ambassador being brought in as the focal point. I do feel that there could have been something interesting in this with some more meaningful stories or examples but unfortunately these two don’t land for me. Unfortunately, this has just left me questioning what Afterpay really stand for other than mindless consumerism.
Campaign: It’s how we buy now
The verdict: Could have gone further
There’s a lot of competition in the buy now, pay later space (see above) and this ad is an attempt to cut through with visual intrigue. The big head metaphor is a bit of a stretch for me but it does the job of explaining what Gimme is about. I quite like the moment of self-awareness when the wife is horrified to see her husband’s big head but it’s ruined when the daughter explains what we’re all seeing. I would have liked to have seen that gag pushed further.
For what is a young industry, Gimmie is a young entrant. Their first campaign ‘It’s how we buy now’ does a pretty good job of telling us what makes them different and/or better than their competitors. This makes it an improvement on competitor Afterpays’ recent campaign. However, unlike Afterpays’ campaign, there is little in the way of branding or a unique look and feel that helps me to identify the brand in my moment of need.
The execution is visually simple and effective at communicating to audiences that using Gimmie as a buy now pay later service is a smart thing to do and something you should feel smug and big headed about. Alluding to the idea that it’s not just there if you need it but a clever life hack and way of purchasing goods that you should be doing.
I do however find the central thought and sign off ‘Gimmie, it’s how we buy now’ jarring and unethical. From a strategy point of view, it’s spot on as it helps to normalise the behaviour and position the brand in the vernacular of consumers, giving us comfort that not only is this a smart thing to do, but something you should feel good about. However, for me this is also the problem. it’s normalising consumer debt at scale for everyday items. At a time when we know many Australians are financially vulnerable, buy now pay later services have boomed recently. And for some, causing much bigger problems. From my point of view, messages that further perpetuate societal issues like this are a problem and are what gives the industry a bad name.
I hardly think this is the fault of the agencies involved, I think their response to the brief they were given is spot on. For me this has resulted from a lack of responsibility from the brand and what is clearly a bit of a grey area in terms of financial regulation around the marketing of these messages. Unfortunately, this leaves me with an execution that I can’t buy into.
As told to Anna Macdonald. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email email@example.com.
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